Local 764 Members
Twice Reject Settlement
Bargaining between UE Local 764 and the Carboline Co. turned out not to be
"business as usual," contrary to the companys expectations. Ratification
of a new three-year agreement took place Feb. 7 once the UE membership had already twice
rejected company proposals.
Although the result was "a pretty good contract," Local Pres.
David Chambliss told the UE NEWS, these negotiations "were about the worst
Ive been through."
Carboline management came to the table with the intention of finishing
negotiations within a week but proceeded to demand a drug policy, a a monthly
premium for health insurance, more "flexibility" in transferring workers out of
their classifications. and a reduction in the number of UE committee members.
Union leaders made forceful proposals of their own, calling for a
substantial wage increase and improvements in the pension plan, earned time off and
bereavement pay. And the committee lost no time in letting Carboline know that members
strongly opposed the drug policy and had no intention of paying for their health
insurance, and that the company already had enough flexibility on transfers in the
Management reminded the UE committee that only in the Xenia division was
there no drug policy; all other Carboline workers pay for their health insurance. The
battle lines had been clearly drawn.
The drug and smoking policies and demand that workers pay for their
insurance "had nothing to do with saving money," Chambliss said. "It was
the idea that our plant was the only one that didnt have these things is all it
boiled down to."
When negotiations concluded a week later, the company presented a 20-cent
wage increase to offset the health insurance premium, an additional $1.40 over three
years, a modified flexibility proposal and changes in the drug policy. Carboline abandoned
its attempt to dictate the size of the negotiating committee.
Members unanimously rejected the company offer. The committee came back
with improvements which were also rejected. When the company agreed to pretax the 20 cents
earmarked for health insurance and further improve the drug policy by eliminating
managements right to search workers cars in the company parking lot
members voted to ratify.
The contract improves the pension benefit, which goes from $21.25 to $27
over the length of the contract. Step-children are added to the five-day bereavement
leave; life and accident death and dismemberment insurance coverage is doubled.
Improvements are also made to severance pay and earned time off.
"The membership sent a UE message to that company that
were going to grab hold of your leg like a junk-yard dog and were not
going to let go until you give us what we want!" said UE District Seven Pres.
Joyce Clayborne, who assisted the local union in negotiations.
The Local 764 negotiating committee consisted of Dave Chambliss, Roy Hess,
Robin Hall, Eugene Cope, Mike Muncy and Russell Entsminger.